We already know the importance of solar energy in this era when our regular fuel sources are being depleted. Need of the hour is to construct bigger solar plants to meet with the ever rising demand. However, it is not easy to maintain such immense Solar Plants. Dust particles, bird droppings or sand grains, bar the sunlight and result in lowering the overall output of the plants by 30% in just one month (as per some research). However, until now there was no cost effective and potent solution for the problem.
Tokyo based Sinfonia Technology Co Ltd has come up with a Robot, which can effectively clean the Solar panels of different types. The bot can move autonomously from one panel to another, ruling out the need for the rails. Equipped with camera and various sensors it is capable of cleaning an area of 100 meter square per hour. Powered by a rechargeable and replaceable battery, the bot gently uses its rotary brush, wiper and sprinkling water stored in its tank in keeping the sensitive solar panels speck-less. Mostly the cleaning work at Solar Plants are carried out at night, keeping this in mind the bot is also laced with LEDs having wavelengths in the infrared range.
Furthermore, the bot is also capable of wireless data transmission and so using a tablet we can keep a track of the battery charge remaining or water status. The bot can remember its last location where the battery was changed and so start up the cleaning work again from the same spot.
Most importantly, the bot can easily maneuver on tilted planes ranging from 5 degree to 30 degree and up-to 20 degree on wet panels during rains. It can detect the edge of the panels and tackle the gap of 50 mm or less and difference of height up-to 30 mm or less making it suitable for different types of Solar Plants.
Most of the solar plants are located in deserts and their panels get covered with minute sand particles. Therefore, such robots have been designed to consume minimum amount of water to clean the panels. With further research, the company aims to make it bot multi-tasking by using it in rotating the panels in the direction of the sun. As per experts, using manpower in cleaning of the solar panels is not generally cost effective and so the Sinfonia’s bot seems to have a promising future.